Small Business Report A Good First Step But More Can Be Done To Reduce Red Tape Burden

The NSW Business Chamber, the State’s peak business organisation, says the Board of Taxation’s report on its Review of Tax Impediments Facing Small Business is a good first step, but more can be done to reduce the regulatory burden on small business. “NSW businesses regularly report that tax compliance makes up a substantial part of the regulatory burden that is choking off the potential of Australian entrepreneurs, which is why simplifying the tax system was one of the key priorities in the national Chamber movement’s Small Business: Too Big to Ignore campaign ahead of the last federal election,” said NSW Business Chamber CEO, Stephen Cartwright.

“Often regulators can reduce red tape by adopting small business friendly practices without any change to legislation – so we are delighted with the Board’s recommendations for the ATO to work more closely with small business to improve communication and minimise unnecessary complexity.

“We are pleased with the Government’s decision to accept the Board of Taxation’s recommendation to abolish draconian penalties for small businesses that make honest mistakes when dealing with the tremendously complicated superannuation system.

“We urge the Government to accept the recommendations to lift the small business entity threshold to at least $3 million, to maintain its real value and preferably to the $5 million recommended by the Henry Review.

“Other sensible recommendations the Government should consider include allowing businesses to assess whether employees are eligible for superannuation on a quarterly basis and increasing the minor benefit threshold for fringe benefits tax.”

Mr Cartwright said it was disappointing that the Board’s report did not give stronger direction to the ATO to notify business owners before making them personally liable for business tax debts.

“Making directors personally liable for a company’s tax debts is an extraordinary penalty designed to safeguard the integrity of the tax system – there is simply no justification for doing it without giving them fair warning.

“The ATO suggests that director penalty notices are a small issue because they only affected 3,300 business owners in 2013-14, but this is a huge number considering there were only 5,500 business related bankruptcies that year,” Mr Cartwright said.


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